The A's met with representatives for starting pitcher Edwin Jackson last week at the MLB Winter Meetings, but according to a source, the two sides are not close on potential salary figures.
Jackson, 35, would like to return to Oakland, but he also has drawn interest from about seven other teams, including the Mets, Reds and Blue Jays. The right-hander is coming off a phenomenal bounce-back season, in which he went 6-3 with a 3.33 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 17 starts. The A's compiled a record of 14-3 in those starts.
Most industry insiders believe Jackson is worth between $6 million and $8 million on a one-year contract, but Oakland has not yet come close to either of those numbers. Jackson might be willing to accept a slight discount to return to the A's, but he likely won't want to lower the market for other free-agent pitchers.
For reference, the Detroit Tigers recently signed right-hander Tyson Ross to a one-year deal worth $5.75 million in base salary and another $250,000 in easy incentives. Ross, 31, went 8-9 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.30 WHIP last season, all significantly worse than Jackson's 2018 stats.
The Yankees signed left-hander CC Sabathia to a one-year, $8 million contract earlier this offseason. Sabathia, 38, went 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA and 1.31 WHIP last year.
While Jackson might have benefited from pitching in Oakland at the pitcher-friendly Coliseum, his ERA actually was slightly better on the road. Overall, he limited opposing batters to a .227 batting average.
Much of Jackson's value also came in the clubhouse, where he quickly became one of the veteran leaders on the A's. He is widely considered one of the best personalities in baseball and an unselfish teammate.
The A's concern could lie in Jackson's limited innings last season. He threw just 92 frames at the big league level after starting the year in Triple A, and he has not thrown more than 100 innings since 2014.
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It remains to be seen if the A's can come to terms with Jackson, but they do have some other options. Oakland reportedly has shown interest in a handful of free-agent starters, including Trevor Cahill, Clay Buchholz and Shelby Miller.
One way or another, the A's figure to add at least two more starting pitchers by the start of the season.